As children, it was easy to get daily exercise. We explored our backyards, ran at recess and had neighborhood friends who begged us to come and play outside. As adults, things aren’t so easy. We think of our backyards as nothing more than postponed yard-work. Our recesses have turned into coffee breaks. And our friends? Well, they only beg us to pick up our phones to view the latest memes. None of which help us stay in shape. We didn’t lose our love of play or appreciation for healthy competition; matter of fact, we watch sports all the time. So why do we no longer play them ourselves? Adult athletic leagues offer friendship, exercise and a chance to relive our childhood passions. What could beat that? Whether you want to join a local recreation league, an amateur team or form a team of your own, there are many sports to choose from. (Clickable league links are in each sport’s title)
For those who love high-paced, high-scoring activities
Requires: Agility, speed, hand-eye coordination
A runner’s dream! Soccer is a perfect way to implement a high level of cardio and build leg strength.
Requires: body control, balance, conditioning
Hockey offers a bit of variety with the option of ice or field play. Master skaters who love being on the ice find joy chasing down a puck and making the big shots. Field hockey is played on foot.
Requires: Endurance, speed, hand-eye coordination
With quick bursts of energy and powerful racquet swings, tennis is a full-body workout.
Requires: Flexibility, quick response, hand-eye coordination
Played both indoor and outdoor, volleyball is a know for short spurts of high-intensity play.
Requires: Multi-level movements, spatial awareness, quick bursts of energy
America’s favorite! Time to put all those catching lessons from dad to the test. A slower paced activity for those who are okay with lower-scoring sports and long breaks between action.
Requires: Arm strength, patience, running, hand-eye coordination
Most adult leagues feature flag football, which increases safety while maintaining the fun.
Requires: sprinting, agility, balance
Other Unique Team Sports: Ultimate Frisbee, Roller Derby(or here), Kickball, Quidditch, Dodgeball
As tempting as it is to commit to a team on a whim, don’t fall victim to impulse. Many teams require practice, weekly matches, and extra time in the gym. You may also need to travel for playoffs, championships, and tournaments. Sans proper research, the unexpected time commitment can lead to burnout or lack of follow through. Make sure to pick a league that aligns with the time availability that you can handle.
Listen to Your Body
Starting a new sport, or even a new season of an old sport can cause strain on the body. Suddenly increasing your level of activity can be a jolt on muscles that haven’t been conditioned. Instead of jumping from no (or low levels of) activity to high exert play, make the transition seamless by preparing for your sport weeks in advance. If you feel irregular pain and fatigue during the season, listen to your body instead of pushing yourself past your limit. Let your teammates know that you need to sit out or rest and jump back in during the next game.
Don’t Forget About Your Mental Health
At their best, team sports feed an internal need for socialization, physical activity, and challenge. At their worst, those three things can go awry. If you find yourself on a roster where tense interpersonal relationships are causing issues, don’t overlook how that affects your mental health. Some teammates will take the league more seriously than others. The varied levels of competitiveness are a common cause for dissension amongst the group. As is the varying level of skill. If the level of physical activity or challenge is causing strife, the mental weight of the situation can also negatively affect your health. The goal is to remain happy while your body benefits from the workout. If that isn’t happening, there’s no shame in finding a new team, or a new sport. Your physical and mental health comes first, even when you are a part of a team.
Be Mindful of Your Budget
Before you consider joining a team sport, first look into the cost. For some, the fees can be higher than assumed. If that’s the case, instead of giving up on joining, research other local teams. Gyms, rec centers, independent clubs, and sports complexes all offer adult sports programs. If your first choice is too pricey, there’s no harm in placing budget over preference. If your heart is set on playing in an expensive league that isn’t necessarily budget-friendly, consider playing one season a year while supplementing your exercise regimen with a less expensive alternative during the off-season.
Adult team sports greatly benefit both your physical well-being and your social life. Enroll in a local club today and restore your rightful title as a lifelong athlete.